My direct descendants are in bold type. This is a work in progress. Much of my direct line is documented, but some may not be. If there is a question, I usually include words like "seems likely" or "possibly" in hopes that it may help someone else or eventually get me closer to documentation. Also, I do make errors when transferring info to my files or to the site. If you find errors that you can correct, please e-mail me and I'll gladly make the changes or if you have more information on anyone mentioned here and can share it, I would be really appreciative.

George Williams
My 4th Great-grandfather, 1797–1852

George Williams was born in 1797 likely in Bertie County, North Carolina. He was married to Nancy F. who was born in 1810.

He was first mentioned in the Holly Grove Baptist Church minutes on December 13, 1828 as “Brother” George Williams.

Holly Grove Baptist Church in Bertie County, North Carolina was originally organized as Outlaw’s Chapel in 1804 with 99 members. Around 1825 Outlaw’s Chapel officially became Holly Grove Baptist Church. A few years later, a group of those church members started a new church in Haywood County, Tennessee and named it Holly Grove Baptist Church, possibly as a nod to their friends and family back in Bertie County.

In the January 1829 minutes, George Williams was referred to as an elder. He was unanimously chosen to pastor the church for one year on March 9, 1833. On March 28, 1833, he accepted the call of the church to serve them as pastor for one year provided the church would change their meeting times from the second to the first Sunday each month.

In the April 12, 1834 minutes, 24 dollars for his services during the previous year was mentioned. On May 3 of the same year, he agreed to serve “as long as convenient.” In May 1835, he and Henry White agreed to serve the church together. In March 1836, the church wanted Mr. Williams and Mr. White to serve again. Henry White served. Nothing further was mentioned in the minutes of Holly Grove Baptist Church about George Williams. Source: Lynn from Bertie Co., North Carolina

Meanwhile, Bertie County had become crowded and the farmers and plantation owners needed more land. Some of the families found the answer to their problem 800 mile east in Haywood County, Tennessee.

The Cherokee and Chickasaw considered much of West Tennessee to be their hunting ground, but by 1818 the Chickasaw leaders had signed a treaty and given their lands to the young State of Tennessee. Land on which settlers could grow cotton was a hot commodity so it was only a matter of time until the federal government forced all Native Americans to leave the area in the atrocity that came to be called The Trail of Tears.

As those from Bertie County joined others in claiming land in West Tennessee and wagon trains poured into the area, one of the first things they did was set up churches that would be centers for both their religious needs but also as a place to make community connections.

A group of families in my family line began one of those churches and called it Zion Baptist Church. According to “A History of Zion Church,” in mid-November, 1836 the new church convened in their new building and elected a pastor. “Brother Leggit moved that an offer be extended to George Williams (my 4th great-grandfather) for $60 per year:

1836 — Saturday before the 3rd Lords day in November, 1836, the church convened in their new building and conference was opened by prayer. The church then proceeded to elect a pastor. It was moved by brother Leggett and seconded by Brother Rooks that Brother George Williams be our pastor for the ensuing year. Brother Outlaw was instructed to write Brother Williams informing him that he was chosen pastor of Zion Baptist Church and requesting him to attend the next meeting.

1838 – George Williams elected pastor – salary $60.00 per year

1846 – Salary of pastor $75.00 paid in installments April 1849 – Brother George Williams wrote an epistle of three pages reminding church of preaching under the oak trees and reminding them to pray for the young people, that God would convert, prosper and keep them in heavenly places.

Bernie Cobb, “A History of Zion Baptist Church,” 23.

In the 1850 United States Federal Census, George Williams and his wife Nancy were living in District 11 in Madison County, Tennessee which borders Haywood County. He was 53, Nancy was 40 and their daughter Harriet A. was 17. His occupation was listed as “Baptist minister.” The value of his real estate was $3,700.

He was living next door to his son, George Solomon Williams and his family.

Living on the other side of the George Williams family was the family of Hugh A. Montgomery. Montgomery was the husband of George’s daughter, Mariah Williams. She died before the 1850 census. Hugh and Mariah had a son, James Alexander Montgomery who was five years old in 1850.

George Williams died on Oct. 3, 1852. Although it’s not known for certain, he was possibly buried in the Montgomery Family Cemetery alongside his daughter.

After his death, George Williams’ property and proceeds from the sale of his slaves were divided between his son, Solomon, his wife Nancy F. (who remarried a man named Edward Williams – possibly a brother of George) and his grandson, James Alexander Montgomery, who was still a minor.

At the time of his death, Williams was the owner of four slaves: Milly, a woman who was young enough to be the mother of small children; Ned, Millie’s son who was around 3 years old in 1853 during the probate of the estate; Winnie, Millie’s daughter who was around 19 months old; and Henrietta, a young girl who was 15 years old.

The children of George and Nancy Williams were:

Last First Born Location Born Died Location Died Spouse
Williams George Solomon March 1820 North Carolina 1864 Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Unknown
Catherion Arthur Nowell
b. 06 Feb 1828
m. 06 Feb 1844
d. 03 Aug 1895
Buried: Unknown
Williams Harriet A. 1833 North Carolina 6 Feb 1878
Age: 45
Haywood Co., TN Andrew Jackson “Jack” Outlaw
b. 22 Mar 1825
m. 28 Dec 1859
d. 12 Nov 1903
The children of Jack and Harriett Williams Outlaw were: William Price Outlaw, Solomon Andrew Jackson Outlaw, George Arthur Outlaw, Luday Elizabeth Outlaw and Minnie Outlaw. Only William and Elizabeth lived to adulthood. For more about Jack and Harriett, visit my blog.
Williams Mariah unknown North Carolina Before 1850 Madison County, TN Hugh A. Montgomery
b. 1810
m. 07 Dec 1843
Hugh A. Montgomery and Mariah Williams Montgomery had a son, James Alexander Montgomery. Mariah died before 1850 when her son was still a small child. Hugh married a woman named Elizabeth. For more about the Montgomery family, visit my blog.

Sol Williams

My 3rd Great-grandfather, 1820—1864

George Solomon “Sol” Williams was born March 1820. On Feb. 6, 1844 he married Catherion Arthur Nowell. She was 16 and he was 24 at the time.

Catherion was the daughter of Dempsy Nowell and Elizabeth Rawls.

Dempsy left Bertie County, North Carolina around 1832 to settle in Haywood County and in 1839 was ordained a deacon at Zion Baptist Church. From the activities in which Dempsey participated, it’s evident he was educated. He could read and write and there were several “lots of books” in the inventory of his estate.

According to his will, at the time of his death in 1852 he owned over 600 acres of land and many slaves. (source). At age 13, in 1841, Catherion “professed faith in Christ” and was baptized into the fellowship of Zion Baptist Church by Elder Hugh Coffen (“A History of Zion Baptist Church,” Cobb). Solomon’s father had, only a year before, been the pastor of Zion so they likely met at church. In the 1850 US Federal Census, he used the name Solomon and was then 30, living in District 11, Madison County, Tennessee. Catherion was 23 and they had two children, Elizabeth who was 6 and George who was 4. Solomon listed his occupation as “farmer.”

By the time of the 1860 census, the Solomon Williams family had moved to District 5 in Haywood County. Elizabeth and George were then 15 and 13 and had been joined by siblings John, Edward and William E.

Solomon died 14 years later at the age of 44. His widow Catherion would live another 31 years.

Catherion Williams died in 1895:

Obituary of Catherion Arthur Williams
Sister C.A. Williams is gone. She was born in North Carolina Bertie County Feb 6, 1828. Her parents moved to Tennessee Haywood County when she was quite young. She professed faith in Christ and was baptized into the fellowship of Zion Church by Elder Hugh Coffen at the age of 13 years which she lived a consistent member til her death. She was married February 6, 1844, and was the mother of eleven children of whom 5 are living and members of the Baptist church. She departed this life the 3rd day of August 1895 being 67 years 5 months old. Our loss is her gain and we say to her relations and friends to strive to meet her in Heaven where the wicked cease from broubing and the weary are at rest. September 14, 1895.

Written by JCW Cobb and W.T. Morris Zion Baptist Church Book of Obituaries


Catherion’s lands are divided among her heirs. “…said commissioners allotted and set apart Lot No.6, and during the natural life of Catherion A. Williams with remainder after her death to said Jno. N. Williams…”
Haywood County Court Minute Bk 6:608-618 March 19, 1894


The children of Sol and Catherion Williams were:

Last First Born Location Born Died Location Died Spouse
Williams Mary Elizabeth March 1845 Haywood Co., TN 17 May 1924 Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Holly Grove Bap Church Cem
John Ambrose Thomas
b. Jan 1844
m. 1865
d. 1922
The children of Elizabeth and John A. Thomas were: Lavena, George S. Albert E., Frances “Fanny” Marian, Victoria and Grover C.
J.A. Thomas was the leader at Zion Baptist Church who presented the “letters of demission” for those who were leaving to start Holly Grove Baptist Church on Sept. 27, 1885.
Williams George D. (Dempsey?) 6 Nov 1847 Haywood Co., TN 2 Apr 1919 Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Possibly Haywood Co. Cotton Field
Martha Jane Watridge
b. 27 Aug 1852
m. 15 Dec 1868
d. 22 Dec 1888
Grave: UnknownMollie Collier
m. 24 Nov 1889
Grave: UnknownVirginia Estelle Cobb
b. 21 April 1861
m. 4 March 1900
d. 18 Dec 1919
Grave: Cobb Family Cemetery
Williams John Nowell June 1851 Haywood Co., TN 30 Aug 1928 Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Zion Bap Church Cem
Mary Catherine “Mollie” Cobb
b. 8 Apr 1857
m. 14 Dec 1881
d. 13 Nov 1938
The daughter of John and Mary was Zelma Aurene b. 1895

Will Williams mother, Martha Jane Watridge Williams died in 1888 at the age of 36 leaving her husband a widower with five children. Will, the youngest, was less than a year old at the time. He began living with family at some point during his childhood. In the records of the 1900 census, Will was 12 years old and living with his maternal aunt and uncle, George W. Castellaw and Mary E. Watridge Castellaw (his mother and Mary E. Watridge Castellaw were sisters).

Right next door was Will’s father, George W. Williams, along with his third wife, Virginia Estelle “Essie” Cobb Williams and their 15-year-old daughter Elberta. Essie was a daughter of John Charles Warren Cobb and Penelope Trottman White.

Living next door to the George and Estelle Williams household were George’s brother and his wife, John Nowell Williams and Mollie Cobb Williams

Williams Edward W. 1853 Haywood Co., TN 1893 Haywood Co., TN Amanda Crowder
b. Jan 1853
m. 23 Dec 1873
d. 05 June 1921
Grave: Unknown
Note: Edward and Amanda had six children: Mark K, Edward, Foster, Maggie, Nellie Mae and Lem E.
Their daughter, Maggie, shot her husband Ellis on July 4, 1917. You can read more about her on my blog.
Williams William E. 1856 Haywood Co., TN Unknown Unknown Eliza A. Chandler
The children of Will and Eliza were: Nellie Kate, Lizzie W., Mable L., and Dan B.

On 27 Sept 1885, W.E. Williams was among the men and women who petitioned for a “letter of dissmision” from Zion Baptist Church so they could form Holly Grove Baptist Church. You can read more about them on my blog.

Williams Catherine E. “Katie” 1860 Haywood Co., TN Unknown Unknown William L. Booth
Williams Rebecca Marie 1863 Haywood Co., TN 1 Oct 1890
Age: 27
Haywood Co., TN Cicero Booth
b. 25 Oct 1859
m. 1896
d. 17 Apr 1924
The daughter of Rebecca and Cicero was Blanche.

George D. Williams
My 2nd Great-grandfather, 1846—1919

George D. Williams was born Nov. 27, 1846. In 1862, at the age of 15 he “professed religion” at Zion Baptist Church and was baptized by Rev. G.E. Thomas. On Dec. 15, 1868 he married Martha Jane Watridge and they soon began what would become a large family.

Martha Jane had been born August 27, 1852 and was the daughter of James F. Watridge and and the granddaughter of William and Millie Watridge who moved to Haywood County, Tennessee from Bertie County, North Carolina in the early 1830s and were among the founding settlers of the community. Martha died in 1888 at the age of 36 leaving George a widow with five children. Her youngest son Will, my great-grandfather, was less than a year old.


Martha Jane Watridge Williams Obituary

Martha J. Williams died 22 Dec 1888 wife of G.D. Williams and daughter of James Watridge and granddaughter of Bro. Deacon W. Watridge. Married George D. Williams 17 Dec 1868. She was born 27 Aug 1852. Leaves husband and 4 Children, one an infant babe.

“Zion Baptist Church Book of Obituaries,” 5.


On Nov. 24, 1887, about a year after his first wife’s death, George married Mollie Collier. It is unknown if she died or they divorced but, on March 4, 1900, he married Virginia Estelle “Essie” Cobb. Together, they had a daughter, Lorene, who married Henry Brantley. Henry was a son of Walter Earl Brantley, the brother of my 3rd great-grandfather Henry Preston Brantley, making him my 1st cousin, 3 times removed.

More about the Brantley Family

In 1910, George and Essie lived next door to Champ and Maggie Watridge.

George died at the age of 72 on April 2, 1919 at 4 p.m. and was buried in the Williams family cemetery in Haywood County, Tennessee. The undertakers were listed as “Castellaw and Watridge.”


George D. Williams Obituary

G.D. Williams died 2 April 1919, born 6 Nov 1847. Professed religion 1862 at Zion Church. Baptized by Rev. G.E. Thomas.

“Zion Baptist Church Obituary Book,” 88.


My father mentioned to me that when he and his father, Lloyd “Bo” Williams would go hunting, he would point over to a section of a cotton field and tell him that his grandfather, George Williams was buried there. My father and one of his childhood friends both remembered the cemetery and that there were several headstones that were located within an iron fence. One day, my father’s friend, Milton Booth, took me back through the cotton field to check it out. While no headstones remain, the remnants of an iron fence was still visible. I returned with my father in the winter when the brush had died in hopes of finding some headstones but found none. George Williams’ death certificate indicates that he was buried in the “Family Burial Ground” and a relative of the Williams family was recently able to confirm the location. Another relative, Maggie Williams Sullivan was also likely buried here as well. Visit my blog for more details.



The children of George and Martha Jane Watridge Williams were:

Last First Born Location Born Died Location Died Spouse
Williams E.L. 1 Nov 1869 Haywood Co., TN Before 1880 Unknown
Buried: Unknown
Williams James Solomon “Sol” 7 Nov 1874 Haywood Co., TN 1938 Unknown
Buried: Holly Grove Bap Church Cem
Nettie Taylor
b. 1887
m. 1903
d. 1966
Williams George T. 1879 Haywood Co., TN Unknown Unknown
Buried: Unknown
Williams Elberta Jan 1885 Haywood Co., TN Unknown Unknown
Buried: Unknown
Williams William Lafayette “Will” 13 Feb 1888 Haywood Co., TN 1 Apr 1962 Haywood Co., TN
buried: Memorial Park Cemetery, Haywood Co., TN
Janie Elizabeth Williamson
b. 1888
m. 6 Feb
d. 19 Aug 1914
buried: Providence Methodist Church Cemetery
Madison Co., TNEva Iris Overton
b. 1896
m. 6 Feb
d. 1970
Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Memorial Park Cemetery, Haywood Co., TN


Will Williams
Great-grandfather, 1888—1962

Janie Williams as a young woman around 1910 and as a girl around 1900.

Will Williams was born Feb. 13, 1888. His mother died when he was less than a year old. While his father did remarry, by the time he was 12, it appears Will was living with his aunt and uncle. He married Janie Williamson on Feb. 6, 1910. Janie was the daughter of Joe and Mary Elizabeth Joyner Williamson.

Janie’s grandfather was a well known Methodist preacher named Beverly M. Williamson and her grandmother was Harriet Elinor Dougan, the offspring of a revolutionary war hero. Beverly M. Williamson donated the land on which Providence Methodist Church and cemetery in Madison County, Tennessee was built.

Janie’s mother Mary Elizabeth died when Janie was 11 years old.

Will and Janie had their first child, my grandfather Lloyd “Bo” Williams, ten months after getting married.

When Bo was just 4 years old, his mother Janie died just two days after giving birth to a daughter who was named Ruth. Ruth only lived a short time. Years later, as a very old man, “Daddy Bo” as he was called by then, shared a few memories of his mother. According to family history, when Will’s first wife and daughter died, he had a hard time taking care of his young son. Some of Janie’s family went to Will and strongly suggested that if he couldn’t get it together and take care of Bo, they would take him away and care for him themselves.

Eventually, Will saw a schoolteacher riding by in a wagon and told friends he was going to marry her. Will married the teacher, Eva Iris Overton, on Feb 25, 1915, six months after the death of his first wife. Daddy Bo remembered telling his father he would never call her mother and, in his nineties, said with pride, “and I never did.” He called her “Mizz Eva” growing up.

Will and Eva Williams with Will’s son Bo, and their daughters Ladomia and Mary “Blue Eyes” around 1917.

Will and Eva Williams would go on to have eight children of their own. Will was a farmer and is remembered as being a large, tall man with a good sense of humor. He farmed and lived in a house near the Providence I-40 exit. Eva, is remembered as being small and jolly, always smiling with a very pleasant disposition. Bo’s sons would both remember her treating them no differently than she and Will’s other grandchildren. Will Williams died in 1962 while Eva lived another eight years. They are buried at Memorial Gardens in Haywood County. Will’s first wife, Janie is buried at Providence Methodist Church Cemetery in Madison County along with her parents, grandparents and siblings.

More about the Williamson Family

Will and Eva Williams in 1958

The children of Will and Janie Williamson Williams were:

Last First Born Location Born Died Location Died Spouse
Williams Jessie Lloyd “Bo” 27 Nov 1910 Haywood Co., TN 27 May 2008 Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Providence Methodist Church, Madison Co., TN
Henrietta Elizabeth Castellaw
b. 13 June 1915
m. 19 Aug 1933
d. 31 Dec 1998
Buried: Providence Methodist Church, Madison Co., TN
Williams Janie Ruth August 1914 Haywood Co., TN Oct 1914 Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Providence Methodist Church, Madison Co., TN

The Children of Will and Eva Overton Williams were:

Last First Born Location Born Died Location Died Spouse
Williams Martha Ladonia 01 June 1916 Haywood Co., TN 12 Nov 1979 Haywood Co., TN
buried: Memorial Gardens
Franklin “Billy” Chandler
b.5 May 1917
d. 13 Nov 1990
Williams Mary Elizabeth “Blue Eyes” 04 Sept 1918 Haywood Co., TN 25 June 1999 Memphis, TN
buried: Hollywood Memorial Gardens
Madison Co., TN
Sydney Edward Hudgings
b. 9 Oct 1922
d.12 June 1977
Williams William Lafayette, Jr. “W.L.” 28 Oct 1921 Haywood Co., TN 05 June 1966 Haywood Co., TN
buried: Oakwood
Haywood Co., TN
Williams Douglass Maxwell 06 May 1925 Haywood Co., TN Martha Ann Clarke
b.1 Nov 1934
m. 30 Aug 1951
Williams Dempsey Hardie 15 Sept 1929 Haywood Co., TN Betty Jo Pollard
b. 21 Mar 1939
Williams Betty Iris 26 May 1932 Haywood Co., TN Robinson
Williams Billy Dean 13 June 1935 Haywood Co., TN 18 Nov 1995 Haywood Co., TN
buried: Memorial Gardens
Betty Joyce Finney
b. 4 Dec 1933
m. 23 Jul 1960
Williams Bobby Gene 13 June 1935 Haywood Co., TN Mary Louise Shealy
b. 1 July 1938
m. 14 May 1960
Sons & daughters -in-law: Standing Mabel (W.L.’s 1st wife), Sidney, Dorothy Gross (Dempsey’s 1st wife) & Ray. Seated: Martha Ann, Elizabeth & Billy.
Sons of Will and Janie and Eva Williams, top row: Douglass and Bobby
seated: Dempsy, Billy, W.L. and Lloyd “Bo”
Daughters of Will and Eva Williams (not sure of order) Betty, Ladonia, and Mary


Jessie Lloyd “Bo” Williams
My Grandfather, 1910 – 1998

Bo and Elizabeth Castellaw Williams around 1940.

Jesse Lloyd “Bo” Williams was born in Haywood County, Tennesse on Nov. 27, 1910. He married Elizabeth Castellaw on Aug. 19, 1933. They lived in a small wooden house about a half mile from where Bo’s grandfather, George Dempsey lived and is thought to be buried. Like Bo, Elizabeth’s family had been living in Haywood County since the early 1830s so they likely met at school or a local community party or church event. Elizabeth remembered waking up on the morning of her wedding and feeling something cold and smooth in her bed. Her father, Bob Castellaw had snuck in her room during the night and put pots and pans in her bed a wedding gift. More about the Castellaw Family





Bo and Elizabeth Williams’ house on Poplar Corner Rd.


Bo and Elizabeth farmed the land on which they lived as well as several other acres belonging to Bob Castellaw. In addition to farming, Bo also began learning carpentry. His son remembers that the first thing Bo built was a set of steps for their house. Using mules and a large scoop, the family dug a pond on their property. A road, which is now Lloyd Williams Road ran up the side of their land and led the way to the houses of several sharecropping families.

After Bob Castellaw’s death in 1954, my grandparents had a disagreement with her siblings over land my grandparents had been farming and to which they felt had been verbally deeded to them. That disagreement generated a schism between some of them that lasted for the rest of their lives.

Bo and Elizabeth had two sons, Jesse and (my father) Robert Lafayette who was called Bobby.  Because Bo’s father Will also had a son named Bobby, my father was, and in some cases still is, referred to as  “Little Bobby” by the family.

Jesse Williams built his own computer business while my father eventually became a minister and, after receiving his masters of divinity at Southwestern Baptist Seminary, served as the pastor of churches in Texas, Virginia and Tennessee. He is currently the pastor of Stanton Baptist Church in Stanton, Tennessee.

Bob married Shirley Lovelace and Jesse married Joline Joyner, both from families who settled in Haywood County in the 1830s.

More about the Lovelace Family and the Joyner Family

Jesse was well known for his sense of humor and passion for issues about which he felt strongly. He died at age 62 in 1997 following a farming accident and is buried at Providence Methodist Church, very close to the graves of his parents.

Bo and Elizabeth were called Granny and Daddy Bo by their grandchildren, and, in their later years enjoyed spending time with their family. Bo spent much of his time after his retirement with horses while Elizabeth continued to cook, sew, and quilt. She loved to fish and always had a jar of “Catfish Charlie” on hand. They both loved to play the card game Rook. Elizabeth would died of emphysema in 1998 at age 83 while Bo would lived nine more years in their home on Poplar Corner Road until he died in 2008 at age 97.


Bob Williams as a boy

Do you have more facts, information or photos you would like shared here or do you see errors? Please let me know!


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